Neonates show considerable variation in growth that can be recognized through serial measurements of basic variables such as weight, length, and head circumference. If possible, measurement of subcutaneous and total body fat mass can also be useful. These biometric measurements at birth may be influenced by demographics, maternal and paternal anthropometrics, maternal metabolism, preconceptional nutritional status, and placental health. Subsequent growth may depend on optimal feeding, total caloric intake, total metabolic activity, genetic makeup, postnatal morbidities, medications, and environmental conditions. For premature infants, these factors become even more important; poor in utero growth can be an important reason for spontaneous or induced preterm delivery. Later, many infants who have had intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and are born small for gestational age (SGA) continue to show suboptimal growth below the 10th percentile, a condition that has been defined as extrauterine growth restriction (EUGR) or postnatal growth restriction (PNGR). More importantly, a subset of these growth-restricted infants may also be at high risk of abnormal neurodevelopmental outcomes. There is a need for well-defined criteria to recognize EUGR/PNGR, so that correctional steps can be instituted in a timely fashion.
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